By Rev. C.J. Barry Kentner
My sister-in-law Maxine is putting together a volume of memories, and I was asked if it was OK to put in an item I wrote many years ago concerning my father. I was delighted to oblige, and as I think about it…this bit of history is probably worth mentioning again. Mainly because it shows the pioneer spirit.
Sometime in the early 1920s, my paternal grandfather, who was a professional photographer of the day, obtained a franchise to sell DeForest Crossley radios in his Music Store on Broadway Street in Orangeville, Ontario. The radios were initially sold in the same way candles and Tupperware are sold today; by a “radio party”. My Dad would come home from school in the afternoon and with his Dad load a radio and arial wire onto a Ford truck, drive to the home where the evening party would be held, and set it up in the living room or parlour.
The voices of “Amos and Andy” -portrayed by Charles Correll and Freeman Godson, led the evening program schedule on the U.S. Networks and a host of colourful characters, including the scandalous “Kingfish” entertained the half-hour from 7 to 7:30 PM. Then my grandfather would begin his sales pitch, while the evening program schedule was enjoyed by the potential purchasers.
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This is a true story: My father decided the lugging of heavy radios was too much, and after some serious research and study, learned that he could transmit sound across an oscillating wave. He hooked up an RCA Victrola to an oscillator, and then connected two aerials…one from their backyard garage, the other on top of the building one block over that housed Granddad‘s store. Now, after school, Dad would go to his bedroom, fire up the oscillator and begin playing music. A radio displayed in the store picked up the music and Grandad was able to demonstrate the sound quality.
Sales picked up, and my enthusiastic father wanted to open a real radio station. My wise old grandfather declined… “Radio”, he said, was “just a flash in the pan!”
How wrong he was!